Twitter Facebook Myspace

The Seven Options For Divorce: Number 5

The fifth option is the default position. We call it Negotiation in the Shadow of Litigation.

The first three methods of divorce allow the parties to control the process, control the cost and control the outcome.  It’s your money, it’s your property, they’re your children, it should be your choice.  But most people aren’t aware of the first three options, or they don’t even consider them.  Many lawyers don’t bother to tell people about the first three options, and very few people are interested in option four, so most of the time people end up going with number five on the list.

In the fifth option you’re working with traditional lawyers who file traditional papers, bang the case around for two or three years, file Orders to Show Cause, Ex Parte hearings, and after all your money is gone, they settle the case.  That’s what most people get.

Trust me, you have lots of other options.

Option 1:  The Kitchen Table
Option 2:  Mediation
Option 3:  Collaborative Divorce
Option 4:  Arbitration
Option 5:  Negotiation in the Shadow of Litigation
Option 6:  Rent-A-Judge
Option 7: Litigation

In Plain English

Two children are in the kitchen fighting over an orange.  Their father walks in, sees what’s going on and decides to put an end to it.  He grabs the orange from their hands, puts it on the chopping block, cuts it in half and gives half to his son and half to his daughter.

Both children burst into tears.  Astonished, the father turns to his son and says, “Johnny, why are you crying?”
“I wanted the whole orange!”  Johnny says, sobbing.
“You can’t have the whole orange, there’s only one orange.  You have to share it with your sister.  Stop crying.”  Then he turns to his daughter and says, “Suzy, why are you crying?”
Suzy sniffles and says, “Daddy, I didn’t want the orange at all.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I only wanted the peel.  I need it for an icing recipe for a cake I just baked.  But I have to have the whole peel.”
The father scratches his beard, thoughtfully.  “You only wanted the outside of the orange?”
Suzy nods her head sadly, a fat tear dripping from her chin.  “Yes.”
“Can Johnny have the inside of the orange?”
Her eyes widen and she bounces on her toes.  “Yes!”
“Johnny? Will you give your sister the orange peel if she lets you have the inside of the orange?”
Little Johnny’s face brightens and he clasps his hands together.  “Yes! Of course! I didn’t even want the crummy old peel!”

***

The truth about litigated divorce is that the judge doesn’t have the time, the inclination or the imagination to find out what your interests are.  When you get a traditional, litigated divorce, you get distributive bargaining.  The judge is following the law.  He’s lead by the rules and the statutes.

With Collaborative Divorce, as well as with mediation or The Kitchen Table Divorce, there is creativity and imagination.  Your wants, your needs, and your fears are heard, acknowledged, and understood.  Your spouse’s wants and needs and fears are heard, acknowledged and understood.  It’s impossible to be angry or hateful towards someone you understand.

You went into your marriage with love.  If you’re getting a divorce, you have the opportunity to reorganize your life with love.  It’s your choice.

The Seven Options for Divorce: Number Three

The third option for divorce is a Collaborative Divorce.  It’s like mediation on steroids.

Collaborative Divorce is similar to mediation in that it’s protected by the evidence code.  Everything is confidential, privileged, private, and can’t be used in court against you.  What makes it different is that it creates a team of people who will help you get through what can be a very painful process, as painlessly as possible.  Collaborative Divorce calms the waters.  It allows you to take stock in yourself before you get into the process.

In a Collaborative Divorce you are surrounded by a team of experts, appraisers, mental health professionals, actuaries, real estate people, people you need to access so that you can reorganize your life, maximize your tax position, divide your assets peacefully, and become successful co-parents.

When you go to court, you get distributive bargaining.  Judges are limited by the rules, by the statutes, by the code sections.  The judge makes the best decisions in accordance with the law.  When you have a Collaborative Divorce, you make the best decisions for your family.

Option 1:  The Kitchen Table
Option 2:  Mediation
Option 3:  Collaborative Divorce
Option 4:  Arbitration
Option 5:  Negotiation in the Shadow of Litigation
Option 6:  Rent-A-Judge
Option 7: Litigation

The Seven Options for Divorce: Number 1

The Kitchen Table

Most people don’t know this, but there are several different options if you’re thinking about getting a divorce.  The first option is called The Kitchen Table Divorce.

In a Kitchen Table Divorce, the couple sits down at the kitchen table with a pad of paper and a pen and they create a plan.  They say, “Here’s what we’re going to do about the kids, here’s how we’re going to pay the bills, here’s what we’re going to do with the property, and we’ll split the cost of whatever it costs to hire someone to put this all in writing.”

With this kind of divorce a couple doesn’t need to hire attorneys and they certainly won’t ever see the inside of a courtroom.  California has a new professional: the Licensed Document Assistant or LDA.  LDA’s are not paralegals, they’re not lawyers, they don’t give you advice.  But if you’re going to have a Kitchen Table Divorce you can hire an LDA, tell them what you want and they’ll fill out the forms for you.  It’s the fastest, cheapest, most efficient way to get a divorce.

Option 1:  The Kitchen Table
Option 2:  Mediation
Option 3:  Collaborative Divorce
Option 4:  Arbitration
Option 5:  Negotiation in the Shadow of Litigation
Option 6:  Rent-A-Judge
Option 7: Litigation